Riding Out the Pandemic: Social Work Practice during COVID-19: Navigating Client Needs and Boundary Changes

Department of Applied Social Sciences will hold a Professional Talk Series in April 2022. There are 2 talks that will disseminate valuable information on self-care and supporting one another during the pandemic .Presenters of talks are: Prof. Faye Mishna from University of Toronto and Prof. Sarah Banks from Durham University.

  • Date: 8 April 2022 (Friday)
  • Time: 09:00-10:15 (HKT)
  • Format: Online via Zoom
  • Speaker: Faye Mishna (University of Toronto)
  • Moderator: Ms Luciana Li (HKSWA)
  • Respondents: Ms Hsu Siu-man (HKFYG)

Dr Chan Chitat (APSS)

Registration link: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/pfs/index.php/615415?lang=en


While information and communication technologies (ICTs) permeated social work practice long before the onset of COVID-19, the abrupt need to close non-essential workplaces resulted in unparalleled incorporation of digital technology and a radical change in social work practice across the globe. Facing the pandemic, Prof. Mishna investigates social workers’ informal use of ICT with clients. Analysis revealed that the COVID-19 context led to a paradigm shift in practitioners’ ICT use, with two key themes: (1) boundary challenges; and (2) clients’ diverging ICT needs.


Prof. Faye Mishna (PhD, MSW) joined the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto in 1999. She has over 20 years of experience in children’s mental health including Clinical Director. She was Dean of the Faculty from 2009 to 2019. She is cross appointed to the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto. Her program of research focuses on bullying and cyberbullying, sexting and online sexual harassment among youth; and the informal use of digital technology in clinical practice.

Riding Out The Pandemic: Riding Out the Pandemic: Professional Virtues in the Digital World: Slow Ethics for Social Work during COVID-19

  • Date: 4 April 2022 (Monday)
  • Time: 17:00-18:15 (HKT)
  • Format: Online via Zoom
  • Speaker: Prof. Sarah Banks (Durham University)
  • Moderator: Prof. Lam Ching Man (HKSWA)
  • Respondent: Prof. Eric Chui (APSS)

Registration link: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/pfs/index.php/255935?lang=en


COVID-19 has accelerated trends towards digital communication in human services. This talk discusses the ethical challenges for social workers, for whom human relationships lie at the heart of their work.  It draws on data from an international survey in May 2020 and an ongoing survey of UK social workers during 2020-21 to examine lessons from digital working during COVID-19 from a virtue ethical perspective. Sarah advocates for ‘slow ethics’ in times of fast-moving crisis, and the virtues of courage, compassion and professional wisdom exemplified through the ‘ethics work’  of practitioners struggling to practise ethically in new and difficult circumstances.



Sarah Banks is Professor in the Department of Sociology and Co-Director, Centre for Social Justice and Community Action, Durham University, UK.  She teaches and researches in professional ethics, community development and community-based participatory research. She is joint coordinator of the Social Work Ethics Research Group of the European Social Work Research Association and is on the Board of Ethics and Social Welfare Journal (of which she was a founding co-editor). Her popular textbook, Ethics and Values in Social Work (Red Globe Press), published the 5th edition in 2021.

Riding Out the Pandemic: Mindful Parenting in Challenging Times

  • Date: 28 March 2022 (Monday)
  • Time: 16:00-17:15 (HKT)
  • Format: Online via Zoom
  • Speaker: Prof. Susan Bögels (University of Amsterdam)
  • Moderator: Prof. Lam Ching Man (HKSWA)
  • Respondent: Dr Herman Lo (APSS)


Registration link: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/pfs/index.php/412172?lang=en


Challenges to parenting can produce considerable stress, which may deteriorate the quality of the parent-child relationship. Environmental stressors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, surely have increased parental stress. Mindful Parenting is a structured mindfulness training program. It focuses on mindfulness-based skills for parents, including parenting with beginner’s mind, awareness of strong emotions in parents and child, mindfully responding to parenting stress, fostering compassion, and taking care of oneself.

In this talk Prof. Bogels will compare the options of self-help and online format with an ordinary face to face mindfulness program that may be suitable for these challenging times.


Prof. Susan Bögels is a Professor in Family Mental Health at the University of Amsterdam. She is a psychologist, psychotherapist, and mindfulness trainer, specializing in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and mindfulness for children and parents. Her main research areas are the intergenerational transmission of psychopathology through family processes. She is a world-leading researcher in anxiety disorders and mindfulness.